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David Brown

By the Numbers: Sliding Prices

David Brown warns of falling average sale prices in U.S. jewelry stores.




By the Numbers: Sliding Prices

THE AVERAGE SALE at your typical U.S. jeweler seems to be locked in terminal decline, falling from $214 in April 2008 to a new low of $143 as of February this year. What’s most alarming about this drop in the 12-month rolling average is that it shows no real sign of reversing. And with January and February being significantly below the long-term average, it may be poised to drop further. What’s driving this precipitous fall? Our suspicion is that it is because jewelers stopped buying higher priced goods, and sales associates stopped showing them, apparently because they were convinced shoppers didn’t have the money to buy them.

If your average sale is sinking, you face a very difficult job in improving your overall sales — the increase in volume would need to be huge. A much better way is to focus on improving average value. Here are five steps to do that:

  1. Buy Up: Aim to bring in goods that will retail 30 percent higher than current inventory.
  2.  Mark Up: Increase your markups.
  3. Round Up: Hike those unusual prices like $172.50 to the nearest standard price, like $179.
  4. Sell Up: Show customers your best goods in any category first.
  5. Shut Up: Rein in those discounts.

This story is from the May 2010 edition of INSTORE.

David Brown is the president of Edge Retail Academy, a leading jewelry business consulting and data aggregation firm that provides expert business improvement plans to help with all facets of your business, including improved financials, healthier inventory, sales growth, increased staff performance, recruiting and retirement/succession planning, all custom-tailored to your store’s needs. They offer Edge Pulse to better understand critical sales and inventory data, to improve business profitability, benchmark your store against 1,200-plus other Edge Users, and ensure you stay on top of market trends with their $3 billion-plus of industry sales data. Contact (877) 569.8657, ext. 001, or



When There’s No Succession Plan, Call Wilkerson

Bob Wesley, owner of Robert C. Wesley Jewelers in Scottsdale, Ariz., was a third-generation jeweler. When it was time to enjoy life on the other side of the counter, he weighed his options. His lease was nearing renewal time and with no succession plan, he decided it was time to call Wilkerson. There was plenty of inventory to sell and at first, says Wesley, he thought he might try to manage a sale himself. But he’s glad he didn’t. “There’s no way I could have done this as well as Wilkerson,” he says. Wilkerson took responsibility for the entire event, with every detail — from advertising to accounting — done, dusted and managed by the Wilkerson team. “It’s the complete package,” he says of the Wilkerson method of helping jewelers to easily go on to the next phase of their lives. “There’s no way any retailer can duplicate what they’ve done.”

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